User login

A Textile Printer's Guide to Estimating Production Time

(January 1999) posted on Sun Jan 23, 2000

Combs presents good estimations for good business.

click an image below to view slideshow

By Terry Combs

Sooner or later, you'll consider using subcontractors. Perhaps that day will come when a customer orders $6000 worth of T-shirts and wants embroidered baseball caps to match...and you don't own an embroidery machine. Perhaps it will happen when a customer asks you to print a product, and you're a little gun shy because the last time you tried that kind of job, the result was many hours of overtime, several thousand dollars in sunken costs, and a lost customer. I became a fan of subcontracting after some expensive mistakes. When I started my business, I never said "no" to a customer. Whatever they wanted, I would print. The result was countless long days, expensive delays, and unhappy customers. Finally, I realized that I wasn't Super Screenprinter Man and became wary of letting my lips promise what my squeegee couldn't print. I tried to focus my business on a limited number of product lines. But I hate to lose a sale, so often I found myself driving back to the office with an order for something I'd never printed before. That's when I decided it might be more practical to find subcontractors for the jobs that fell beyond my specialties.


Fig. 1 Standard Job Times on a Manual Press
Times shown in minutes 1 color 2 color 3 color 4 color 5 color 6 color
Production time/garment 0.50 0.55 0.60 0.67 0.75 0.86
Setup and breakdown 12 24 36 48 60 72
The values shown in this table are averages calculated from actual production, setup, and breakdown times. Note that these are examples only--values for your own operation are likely to be different due to production procedures, equipment, etc.


Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to the magazine.